Doctor of Nursing Practice
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is designed for those nurses who are interested in advance practice nursing as a clinical leader. The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track DNP graduates are prepared as clinical experts in the delivery of primary care across populations. The DNP-FNP focus on critical thinking, leadership, and policy skills necessary to advocate and create changes in healthcare practice for populations and individuals. The program is an online format, providing flexibility for students to remain in their current work positions. Optional opportunities for personal interaction are included with faculty and peers in focused intensive sessions at selected points during each semester. Clinical coursework and immersion experiences are conducted in primary care settings. Students complete most clinical requirements in their home community, but may need to travel for specialized clinical experiences including rural health care settings. Admission to the University does not guarantee admission to the program.
The DNP program includes coursework in nursing theory and research, health information systems, organization leadership, health policy, quality improvement, statistics, and evidence-based practice; as well as credit hours in advance practice nursing cognate courses that develop FNP knowledge and skills to provide primary care for individuals across the lifespan. Content includes chronic illness management, health promotion and disease prevention and didactic and clinical content specific to patient populations within the FNP scope of practice. Eight academic credit hours are dedicated to the development, implementation and evaluation of the DNP scholarly project. The program includes over 1000 hours of immersion in clinical practice to build and assimilate knowledge for advanced practice with a high degree of complexity. These experiences also provide the context within which the final DNP scholarly project is completed.
The DNP curriculum at Colorado Mesa University is based on the “Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice” identified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty’s Independent Practice Competencies and Primary Care Competencies for FNP. The ten AACN Essentials include scientific underpinnings for practice, organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and safety, clinical scholarship and analytical methods for evidence-based practice, information systems/technology and patient care technology for the improvement and transformation of health care, healthcare policy for advocacy in health care, inter-professional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes, clinical prevention and population health for improving health, advance nursing practice, and specialty-focused competencies to prepare graduates for national specialty certification as an advance practice nurse. Graduates prepared for an advance practice role as a Family Nurse Practitioner will demonstrate practice expertise, specialized knowledge, and expanded responsibility and accountability in the care and management of individuals and families.
The DNP degree is built upon a generalist foundation acquired through a baccalaureate or advanced generalist master’s in nursing. The curriculum may be individualized for students based on their prior education and experience. A candidate with a baccalaureate degree would take all courses in the program; someone who already possesses a master’s degree would take coursework to achieve competencies not previously attained. Some students may elect to complete a MSN as they progress toward their DNP. The DNP is the final step on the nursing career ladder at Colorado Mesa University.
Admission to the DNP Program
See Department specific requirements.
Candidates not meeting all of the above requirements may be admitted under conditional status.
Up to nine credit hours may be taken in a “non-degree seeking student” status and later applied to the program requirements. Up to 30% of the credit hours of applicable courses, with a grade of “B” or higher, may be transferred from a regionally accredited institution into the program. Additional information may be found in the Transfer Credit section.
Program of Study
See Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP-FNP) for information on program requirements.